DIFFA’S TAKE ON A CLASSIC

Byline: Rusty Williamson

DALLAS — Sequins, feathers, fur and denim.
That was the scene at the ’95 Dallas Collection, the annual Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS (DIFFA) fashion show and auction this month that features Levi Strauss denim jackets customized by designers and celebrities.
This year, about 100 jackets netted an estimated $250,000 for local AIDS charities, around the same amount as last year.
The top-dollar design was by Los Angeles accessories maker Kathrine Baumann, who won last year too. The jacket, which featured silhouettes of Mickey Mouse outlined in red Swarovski crystals on black suede, fetched $5,850. Last year, a glitzy number by Baumann brought a record $15,000.
“It’s a thing called love,” said Baumann when asked the secret to her winning designs. “I have a special place in my heart for DIFFA.”
Baumann’s sentiments were echoed by Dolores Milhous, who bought three jackets this year, bringing her personal collection to 15.
“The designs were better than ever this year,” said Milhous. “It was a fabulous evening.”
Among the looks she took home were a jacket transformed into a bathrobe by design firm Harlin Ansbro, for $4,500, and a brown velvet tapestry jacket by Beauregard, a tribute to silent-film star Rudolph Valentino, for $2,000.
A retrospective of jackets from past collections opened the show, followed by a video featuring some of the flamboyant costumes worn during last year’s national DIFFA tour.
The new jackets were from designers such as Calvin Klein and Giorgio Armani, as well as celebrities such as Mel Gibson and country crooner Vince Gill.
Richard Tyler, this year’s honorary chairman, donated four dresses from his spring collection. Each brought about $2,000 and featured an intricately reworked matching Levi’s jacket.

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